Wooga Abandons Developing Mobile Games on Facebook in Favor of iOS Apps

With the launch of its App Center, Facebook has been working hard to attract more app developers to the site in an effort to monetize its growing mobile application, but competing with Apple’s App Store is a tough challenge.

Today, German-based social game developer Wooga announced that it will no longer be developing mobile games for Facebook, after a failed six-month long experiment using the social networking giant’s HTML5 platform.

Wooga was the fourth-largest game developer on Facebook, and one of the first companies chosen to develop an HTML5 game that could be played through both browsers and mobile devices. According to the company, its venture into HTML5 has been largely unsuccessful.

The company assigned 10 employees to the game, but there were serious problems in development, including long load times, lack of sound, and the need for an Internet connection.

“The mobile app market is a billion-dollar business that HTML5 could significantly disrupt. It has the potential to be a complete game changer, but the technology is not there yet,” Phillipp Moeser, Wooga’s co-founder, told AllThingsD.

Wooga says that its main issue was promoting its games. Few users, it says, were able to find and download Magic Land Island, which was launched in October. The game was played 1.3 million times, with a retention rate of just five percent.

Instead of creating games for Facebook, Wooga will be switching to iOS development, designing games for Apple’s iDevices. In comparison to Magic Land Island, Diamond Dash, which was launched on iOS, was downloaded more than 18 million times with a retention rate of more than 50 percent during the same time period.

HMTL5 may be a looming threat, but this is clear evidence that Apple’s App Store is still the way to go for developers craving cash and app recognition.

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